Tech Insider

Friday, February 11, 2005

Microsoft and Pfizer Go After Viagra Spammers

As many as one in every four spam e-mails advertises Viagra, said drugmaker Pfizer Inc. and software giant Microsoft Corp. who have teamed up to fight the slew of spam e-mails hawking Viagra that invade consumers' computers.

On Thursday, the firms said they have filed 17 lawsuits against defendants involved in the sale and distribution of the erectile dysfunction drug.

Consumers often mistakenly think the e-mails are sent by Pfizer and that the drugs they order through these online pharmacies are legitimate, said Beth Levine, Pfizer's general counsel for US pharmaceuticals.

Pfizer alleges that once consumers' on-line orders are received on computers in New York, they are sent to a call centre headquartered in Canada, then on to India for processing.

The orders are filled with illegal, unregulated and unapproved products, which are then shipped from India to the US by an air freight company.

Pfizer also says that the Internet pharmacy is selling knock-off Viagra in quantities of 20 to 90 tablets at prices ranging between $159 and $389. The drug typically sells for about $7.50 a pill."

As the maker of Viagra . . . Pfizer is committed to protecting the public from health and other risks associated with the illegal sale of fake and unapproved generic products claiming to be Viagra," said Pfizer executive vice-president and general counsel Jeff Kindler.

Microsoft, meanwhile, said hundreds of millions of e-mails offering the drug have been sent in the past year to people on the Microsoft e-mail system, Hotmail.

Source: EarthTimes

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